Dell Axim X50v wireless PocketPC
The perfect PDA?
Combined with VGA resolution, a choice between a Compact Flash slot capable of accepting a Type II card and an SD IO-compatible slot, the Axim is set-up nicely to act as a portable video player. My previous experiences of getting DIVX content to play on a PocketPC have been pretty disappointing, but in a quite timely fashion an independent programmer has come up with a new application for PocketPC for reading DIVX and XVID content with far greater performance than any previous application. There's even a plug-in available to take advantage of the 2700G graphics chip. This app's called BetaPlayer and can be downloaded here. Don't be put of by the 'Unstable' description - it worked flawlessly for me. Once installed I copied over a 700MB DIVX film to my 1GB IBM Microdrive, and was simply bowled over by the smoothness and quality of the playback. This makes the X50v a serious alternative to carrying round one of the new breed of bigger and heavier hard disk-based video players.
Of course, if you want a games machine and a PDA in one, the Axim has a rival in the Tapwave Zodiac. However, the Zodiac is undeniably a games machine first and a PDA second, while the Axim is the other way round. While the screen on the Tapwave is also superb it's much harder to get video on to the device.
The Li-ion battery on the Axim is removable, and is located behind a cover that's held in place by a locking switch. I'd have preferred this to have clicked firmly into place rather than just being held by the lock, so care has to be taken if you ever swap out the battery, which has a rating of 1100mAh. Above the battery lock is the reset button.
Battery life proved to be very respectable, and with only the occasional use of Wireless and movie watching you could go for a couple of days before recharging, while under somewhat more intense use, you could expect to last a working day with it.
The new Axim X50 range has gained a few ounces but also some curves and a few new tricks. It's fast and powerful, and delights in showing off its new graphical capabilities. It's also flexible thanks to the presence of twin expansion slots. Save for an integrated phone and GPS, there's nothing missing, though if you want esoteric additions such as biometric fingerprint security or a trackpad you'll have to look to HP's iPaq range. The really good news is that Dell has dropped the price of the X50 range since its introduction so you can pick up the top-of-the-line X50v for a truly remarkable £289. This is certainly the best PDA I've ever used.
|Dell Axim X50v|
|More info||The Dell UK site|
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